Brooks is an investigative/enterprise reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.
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"This is an upgrade. We are renewing infrastructure, and if anybody wanted to renew a road, airport, bridge or building, most people would say that makes sense. We're trying to upgrade the safety and reliability of this very critical infrastructure." — Enbridge CEO Al Monaco
DULUTH—By the end of the month, the fate of the Enbridge Line 3 replacement pipeline should finally be known. After years of technical research and public hearings, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is expected to vote June 27 to approve, deny or put conditions on the contentious oil pipeline that would cross 337 miles of northern Minnesota. Though there is still a chance the decision gets pushed back, those for and against the project are preparing protests, celebrations and lawsuits.
DULUTH—The wave of baby boomers leaving the workforce is cresting as the largest generation of American workers continues to reach retirement age. Yet while the number of employees between ages 55 and 65 will peak over the next decade, many will remain in the workforce past the traditional retirement age, by choice or necessity. That can be dangerous.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission tapped the brakes on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline permitting process on Thursday, Dec. 8, saying the massive environmental review for the project is still missing a few fine points. With a 4-1 vote after a daylong meeting, the PUC instructed the Department of Commerce and other agencies to refine three technical areas of the final environmental impact statement and to ensure a tribal cultural resource survey is complete before construction begins.
DULUTH, Minn.—"Build it," the early crowd said. "No way," was the chorus as the sun went down while the state lent its ear to Duluth-Superior to hear how residents felt about the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline. In a crowded Wednesday afternoon hearing at the city's convention center packed with Enbridge employees, pipeline supporters ticked off a dozen reasons to replace the 50-year-old oil pipeline, which crosses northern Minnesota, with a new one on a largely new route, while opponents gave their own set of arguments against it.
ST. PAUL — Another round of statewide public hearings starts Tuesday, Sept. 26, on the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement. This set of hearings could be among the last before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission makes its decision on whether or not to grant the pipeline a certificate of need and route permit. That decision is expected next spring; Enbridge hopes to have the pipeline up and running in 2019.
DULUTH — Enbridge says its Line 3 replacement pipeline is getting more expensive in the wake of regulatory delays and changes to the project. The proposed oil pipeline is now set to cost $6.5 billion, which is 9 percent higher than previous estimates.
SUPERIOR, Wis.—Minnesota Power is partnering with another utility to build a $700 million natural gas power plant in Superior as part of a suite of renewable energy proposals that include new wind and solar generation. "It's really about giving customers affordable, reliable, less carbon-intensive energy," Julie Pierce, Minnesota Power vice president of strategy and planning, said this week. "What we're doing with this is bringing in flexible generation ... to back us up."
A wide swath of Minnesotans interact with a homegrown, billion-dollar business every day — without leaving the house, without turning on a computer, without blinking. Just don't expect all of them to know the name of that company. Allete Inc. is known best, and for some solely, as the parent of Minnesota Power. And while the electric utility is still the corporation's biggest source of income, Allete has been expanding its energy empire and searching for a new balance.